Earlier this year I had the privilege of conducting interviews with diocesan priests in a rural region in the Philippines. In those interviews, several issues were covered including their needs in the diocese, concerns about the Church, and their overall wellbeing. The interviews, I found, were highly revealing as the diocesan priests easily opened up to me, a stranger. Their narratives have unraveled some fascinating findings. Their immediate concerns revolve around their economic limitations, problems with the church leaders, and isolation (which can breed more problems including depression). Undeniably, their stories are very personal. I left the field realizing that perhaps many of the controversies that hound the religious institution today in fact begin in the secluded regions of provincial parishes.
But in spite of all these, they are able to assert their satisfaction in their vocation.
These ideas and more are explored in my newly published article in Religions, which is part of its special issue on “Recent Works on Catholicism”.
Cornelio, Jayeel S. 2012. “Priesthood Satisfaction and the Challenges Priests Face: A Case Study of a Rural Diocese in the Philippines.” Religions 3, no. 4: 1103-1119.
It is downloadable from http://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/3/4/1103